We took the morning slow with the first pancakes of the trip (sourdough, with caramelized peaches). My mom drove up to drop off the Go Pro (we’re going to stick it on some sol cycles, on our handlebars, and film the Idaho class with it) and lacrosse ball (to roll out the hips and the backs and the feet). I went with her to buy coffee at the shop, which was the most classic and we sat on the floor among the rugs and clothes and beds and lived easy.
We left later than we should’ve and left the last place I’d be familiar with. We took the Sacramento river bike trail but note -- wait til the park to get on it because wood decks are awful on the wrists.
We took the Garden Highway pretty much the whole way up, except we cut over to it diagonally through Natomas. Road was mostly good, but pretty rough at times. I listened to some podcasts for the first time (a Ted Radio Hour on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and stopped on the bank of the American River for lunch my mama brought - a banh mi sandwich and an orange. I love the kind of sticky your hands get peeling and eating one whole, tacky but clean. Sandwich and fruit laid out on the grass, I watched some men put boats out to water and hummed.
Our first real highway, Highway 99, wasn’t so bad. I mean, big trucks and fast cars, but the road was really good, unwalled, shoulder to shoulder with farmland.
Meanwhile in Racheland:
Liz is doing most of the writing here, but you can’t get rid of me that easily! I’m going to squeeze in some scribbles here and there. Here are some random thoughts from today --
I’ve got to admit, I was excited. Google told us today would be flat, so that meant I could finally whip out my chromonica/duct tape contraption to play while riding!! (I got a holder that only fits blues harps, so duct tape came and saved the day.
We fumbled over a gravel road, were passed by only a mail truck, and passed many o’ dead snake. Finally we turned on a paved portion of the Garden Highway, and -- at last! -- I triumphantly plopped on the chromonica and started jammin’ out to The Shape I’m In by The Band. I puffed out two notes, and then POW POW POW POW the metal slapped me right ‘cross the face, repeatedly, almost knocking my teeth out. Yeah, physics happened. My bad. No chromonica on the road.
Then, while waiting for Liz about halfway through the ride, I had a run-in with Farmer Greg and his pitbull Baby Girl. Baby Girl tried to bite my leg in half as I sat down to devour a sandwich, and Greg came outside to observe the commotion. Turns out Greg is a, not one, but TWO-time lumberjack world champion (yes, this is a thing, LOOK!) Day 5 and I'd already brushed noses with my first celeb! And to make matters more exciting, Baby Girl's favorite activity was getting sprayed face-first with a fire hose and doing a "full 360" to jump around and catch the water in her mouth. I got to watch, but after about ten minutes of entertainment I had to get back on the road.
Back to Liz:
Rachel and I caught up with each other ten miles from Yuba City, stopped at Walgreens for gatorade, rode on to our first Warm Showers host. The family -- two grandparents, their daughter, and her three kids -- set us up on a soft lawn in the backyard. The two grandparents rode their bikes across the country after their retirement, took almost half a year to do it. They told us stories of crashing in fire stations and being chased by dogs and awed by beauty. I wish we had that time, but I’m also so excited for Alaska, graduate school, and everything that comes after we make it to New York. Trying hard to stay present, pay more attention to the people who open their homes and hearts to us, but I spend a lot of time caught up in my head and in Yuba, I was still real worried, fretting, angry about trying to make it across the country, just didn’t know how to unravel it.